My Cancer Journey
Dr. Bawa's Story
I was 42 years old when I was officially diagnosed with breast cancer. It was deeply upsetting because I had originally felt a lump two years prior but was dismissed by multiple physicians. To begin with, my gynecologist said that he did not feel anything and that I was younger than 40 so not a candidate for a mammogram. That made no sense at all. I had to insist on a mammogram. The radiologist did detect the lump I had felt. I was sent for an ultrasound at this point. No biopsy was recommended and I was told to return for another mammogram in six months. When I went back for this mammogram they saw the lump again and called it benign. At no point was a biopsy recommended and at every step of the way my concerns were dismissed. In November 2020 the same lump was diagnosed as invasive ductal carcinoma. Now it was not just that one lump. I had more.
It was truly mind numbing. I had, after all, done the right thing with breast self-exams. I had sought help at the right time. I went for all the studies that were ordered, and fought for many that were not. This time my gynecologist sent me to see a breast surgeon. Ironically, this surgeon, a woman no less, told me that I clearly had fibrocystic breasts and did not need further testing. I insisted upon testing and the radiologist sat me down later that afternoon and told me that I likely had breast cancer.
A biopsy a few days later confirmed her diagnosis. I did not receive basic kindness or see even a semblance of humanity at this hospital and made the decision to go to the University of Miami’s Sylvester Cancer Center. This decision saved my life. I now had a top- notch team that helped me navigate the abyss of cancer. I received truly world class care from the very best doctors in the field. With my medical team in place I faced a major decision. I could either let cancer crush my soul or I could be defiant and live my best life despite it. The decision was simple. I chose the latter.
Cancer patients suffer many side-effects due to chemotherapy, radiation, medications and more. Bawa Medical is tailor made for someone in my shoes, and so I became a patient in my own practice. For instance, I did not want to lose my hair without a fight. I am, after all, a hair restoration specialist. I am also a woman in my prime. Furthermore, I have struggled with hair loss for many years, and had a hair transplant a few years ago. In the end, while I suffered significant hair loss, I never came close to being bald.
I also decided that having great skin and cancer are not mutually exclusive, and dealt with chemotherapy-related issues such as hyperpigmentation head on. I also maintained glowing skin by using Bawa Medical Skincare and our multiple skin rejuvenation services such as HydraFacial, IPL, and more. I counteracted cancer-related weight gain with our weight loss program. I supplemented my diet with our line of supplements. In the end, Bawa Medical, my life’s work, ended up giving me a sense of normalcy and above all, hope.
During the dark days and nights of cancer treatment I decided that my cancer had to amount to something greater than myself. It was at this point that I became an ambassador for the American Cancer Society’s ResearcHERS initiative. Women doing cancer research are grossly underfunded compared to their male counterparts. In fact, the American Cancer Society has funded 49 male researchers who have gone on to become Nobel laureates but not a single woman has achieved that feat. That ends right here right now. Please join me in supporting female led cancer research not just for my cancer but for all cancer by donating to the American Cancer Society.
I am now uniquely positioned to not only provide a cancer patient the various services they need, I understand the sorrow and despair they feel. I have walked in their shoes. I am here to support and to inspire. I am here to fight the good fight. I am here to raise funds for cancer research. We are in this together. If you are a cancer patient or someone you love is, please call us sooner rather than later. It is never too early to fight the effects of cancer and to minimize the toll on your mind, body and soul. And always remember to let your faith be bigger than your fear.